Fulham 0-1 Southampton: James Ward-Prowse strike eases pressure on Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino
Last Updated: 06/01/18 5:39pm
Southampton eased the pressure on manager Mauricio Pellegrino with a deserved 1-0 victory at Fulham in the third round of the FA Cup.
The club slipped to 17th in the Premier League on Tuesday after losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace in what was their ninth fixture without victory.
Championship Fulham had also won their previous four games at Craven Cottage, increasing the potential threat involved for an out-of-form side, but they instead progressed to the competition's next stage with a James Ward-Prowse goal.
Ward-Prowse had just bent wide of the left post after being fed by the creative Sofiane Boufal when, with his second chance of the 29th minute, he convincingly finished.
Steven Davis controlled Maya Yoshida's ball out of defence and - via Boufal, Long and a deflection off Kevin McDonald - the ball ended up at the feet of Ward-Prowse in front of goal, who poked under Button.
Southampton and Boufal, recruited by Pellegrino's predecessor Claude Puel, again threatened when the Moroccan ran from near the corner flag to inside the area and shot low at goal before watching the diving Button tip wide.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was influential during their most recent victory, against Everton in November, and he deserved to double their lead when winning possession, exchanging passes with Long and forcing a save from Button.
Fulham should have scored on the hour. Fine play from Ryan Sessegnon created room to cross, but a reluctance to shoot meant Stefan Johansen and Oliver Norwood instead exchanged passes before Johansen finally shot without conviction and Alex McCarthy saved.
The Saints nearly extended their lead as from a right-wing corner, Ward-Prowse crossed to Long, whose knock-on was headed by Jack Stephens onto the underside of the crossbar.
Fulham then wasted their best chance when, after Norwood crossed into the area from a free-kick and McCarthy spilled the ball and was left on the floor, Denis Odoi connected well with the loose ball but struck it over the crossbar.